Let’s celebrate library culture!

Albert Einstein said, “The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” Libraries are an important part of our culture and they go a long way in inculcating good reading habits. Here, Vijay Ahuja of Delhi Book Store shares his views on libraries.

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Libraries are a part of our civilisation for many years. They have helped shape civilisations and have been delivery rooms for the birth of ideas. “Even in this digital age, libraries have a significant role to play. Think of the people who are living in places that are still not affected with digital revolution! Here, they rely on libraries for their quest for knowledge. Besides, the feeling of being surrounded with physical books is a nirvana in itself, which one can easily experience at a library,” shares Vijay Ahuja of Delhi Book Store.

Public libraries in India

India is blessed to have a number of public libraries. The Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation is the nodal agency of the government of India to support these public library services and systems. “The library personnel should be well aware of the various schemes and funds available to them so that they can make use of those grants,” adds Vijay.

Why libraries are important?

“Libraries are a wealth of knowledge for both rich and poor. People who cannot afford books can come and quench their thirst for knowledge here. The can find books they cannot buy or find. They are a treasure trove of books. Elderly people come here to read newspapers and network with others. Children get to pick and read the book of their choice. Youngsters come here for reference books or pleasure reading. Everybody can benefit from these libraries,” he shares.

Vast genres, new authors: readers want more

But, libraries have to constantly upgrade themselves in terms of the type of books available. “It is important to understand the changing needs of the readers and offer them the books of their choice. There are more and more new subjects to be explored. New writers have come in. While one person would still relish old classics, another might be interested in a new popular young author. There has to be a right mix of books, catering to a wider audience. So, libraries need to take into account all these factors and buy books for varied tastes, age groups and other demographics like language, etc,” adds Prateek Ahuja.

Towards modern libraries

Libraries have become more technology-oriented. “Finding books is easy. Most of the librarians are well informed. Some have good MIS in place,” tells Vijay. The seating arrangement has also changed over the years. Some libraries offer cosy environment to sit and read. “They offer an environment, which encourages reading and increase footfalls,” adds Vijay.

School libraries: equally important

School libraries are very important for children. “Every school should house a library and buy new books for libraries at regular intervals,” he shares. “When children will start reading young, it will inculcate good reading habits in them. They should be encouraged to set aside time for pleasure reading regularly.”

“Its time to celebrate the library culture and promote reading amongst all age groups, demographics, cultures and income groups,” concludes Vijay.

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